We all hate a troll, right? Those nasty people on social media who criticise others openly and unabashedly. In parenting, especially there seems to be a lot judgement and criticism over a mother’s (and father’s) choices. I’ve seen and heard them all. ‘You are breastfeeding aren’t you? Co-sleeping? Baby-led weaning?’ I have also read a few articles recently that suggest that there is a new and rather unpleasant trend amongst parents on social media openly and publicly calling their children unkind names and regularly bashing their behaviour. I personally haven’t witnessed a lot the latter so I won’t go in to too much detail about that but it did make me wonder whether as bloggers and vloggers we need to accept a certain level of social responsibility?
Before I get in to this topic, I’ll state for the record that my experience of parenthood has been hard. It is the hardest ‘job’ I have ever had. I’ve had really bad morning sickness and HG during pregnancy, I’ve had two traumatic births resulting in emergency caesarean, endless problems breastfeeding, postnatal depression and to top it all off my dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer and died not long after Annabelle was born. Despite all this, all the sleepless nights, all the arguments and tears, I can safely say that it’s also the best job in the world. I’m extremely lucky to be in the position I am as a stay at home mum and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have two beautiful, healthy and happy children who enrich my every breath (soppy or what!?).
Up until now, you may not have known all that as I am quite selective about what I choose to blog and blog about. You may think that I portray an unrealistic version of parenthood because of this but I choose not to share a lot of the negative moments. Sometimes it’s too tough for me to talk about. Sometimes I don’t feel that what I have written feels like it is a true enough version of events but more often than not it’s because it might not be something my family will want others to see. They are too young to voice their opinions and until they can, I have to put myself in their shoes and think about how they would feel. I also choose to think about how the reader and viewer will feel. I know I can’t please everyone, and that isn’t what I want to do by censoring myself but as a mother who has had difficult experiences and one who has not been able to breastfeed, for example, I am very conscious of what is said in social media on this topic and parenting in general.
I used to feel tremendous guilt over having to bottle feed Annabelle. I thought that I couldn’t breastfeed because of something I was doing wrong and that it was my all my fault. Hearing women say that they persevered for months until they finally cracked it made me feel like I had given up too soon. After Heath however, I realised that sometimes, it’s not something that can be cracked. No matter how much I wanted to, it just wasn’t going to happen. It therefore fills me with sadness and sometimes rage to see some women, who also claim that they have experienced months of difficulty breastfeeding write, ‘Breast is Best’ on a bottle feeding mother’s social media page. I wonder what they hope to achieve by writing such a comment and how they expect the target to feel in response?
With bloggers and vloggers, I sometimes wonder how much of what is put out there is actually a true version of events and how much of it is sensationalized for likes and subscribes. I think the new trend of name calling and behaviour bashing probably started doing the rounds, quite innocently because there were people who wanted to show the bad, the nitty gritty and the ugly. Some of these bloggers and vloggers became popular for their ‘honesty’, so I think copycats may have felt the need to sensationalize the bad to get their share of the fame. I don’t know. It’s just a theory. Like I said earlier, maybe I don’t know enough about it to comment. Maybe some parents really do think their children are ‘D!@ks’ and tell them to their face, so they see nothing wrong with doing it for a camera. It’s not something I would ever do or think is acceptable but who am I to judge someone else’s parenting style?
Perhaps then, as social media isn’t censored in the same way as television or radio, we as social media consumers should take what we see and read with a pinch of salt. Is it our responsibility to teach that to our children and avoid censoring ourselves as bloggers and vloggers?
Please let me know your thoughts on social responsibility. Who should accept the responsibility, the creator or the consumer? Or let me know if you think that I am just over thinking this topic and that there shouldn’t be any censorship regardless of what someone says or does in social media. Bx